FA Cup

West Ham v Manchester City: Pep ready to taste the magic of the FA Cup

By Timothy Dehinbo

West ham and Manchester city would kick start the 3rd round fixtures of the FA Cup, as City visits the London stadium on Friday Night.
Sofiane Feghouli will be available for the hammers, but the visitors will be without Fernandinho.

The Hammers forward had his red card from Monday’s clash with Manchester United rescinded by the FA and will be available for selection by Slaven Bilic.
However, Fernandinho’s sending off earlier that day stands and after being sent off against Chelsea at the start of December, it has been extended to four domestic fixtures, including the cup trip to the London Stadium.

This is Pep Guardiola’s first taste of FA Cup football, and the Catalan confessed he was looking forward to enjoying the “magic of the cup”.
“In the Bundesliga, the cup tradition is special. What I hear here is that the cup is special because the low teams can beat the big teams – that’s why it’s fascinating, I’m looking forward to it,” Pep said.

The Hammers reached the quarter-finals of last season’s competition, but were knocked out to eventual champions Manchester United after a replay.

West Ham duo Cheikhou Kouyate and Andre Ayew have left for Africa Nations Cup duty while Diafra Sakho, James Collins, Arthur Masuaku, Alvaro Arbeloa and Gokhan Tore are still out due to Injuries.

However, defenders Sam Byram and Reece Oxford are back in training following spells out and are in contention for places in the squad.

City captain Vincent Kompany is back in training, but the trip to London will come too soon as Guardiola confirmed he would not be available for selection.

Pep also said it would be unlikely for him to rotate his squad too much given the calibre of their Premier League opposition, but could bring in Willy Caballero for Claudio Bravo between the sticks.

Both sides have not met in the FA Cup since a third-round clash in 2008, with City eventually winning 1-0 in a replay at the Etihad under Mancini.

City have only lost two of the last 15 games in all competitions against the Hammers (W10 D3), although they’ve failed to win their last two away games against them (D1 L1).

West Ham have lost only one of their last eight FA Cup games at home (W5 D2 L1), however that game was a quarter-final replay against Manchester United last season.

The Citizens have progressed past the third round in six of their last seven seasons, losing out to United in 2012.

Dimitri Payet has had a hand in five goals in six appearances for the Hammers in this competition (three goals, two assists).

Kelechi Iheanacho has appeared three times for Manchester City in the FA Cup, scoring four goals and assisting another.

It is going to be a tricky fixture here at the London Stadium, expect goals from both teams in an exciting clash.

PREDICTION: WEST HAM 2-1 MANCHESTER CITY

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